child, fashion, entrepreneur, t shirt, clothing line, new york fashion week

Langston Howard, 13-year-old t-shirt brand developer, left, meets Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist at the 2022 North American International Auto Show charity preview in Huntington Place in Detroit on Friday, September 16, 2022. Howard is with the Boys and Girls Club and he is learning how to network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals in order to grow his business. He also has selected pieces that will be at New York Fashion Week.
Kelly Jordan, Detroit Free Press

The love for art and creation began at a very young age for 13-year-old Langston Howard. He designed his first collection in first grade, drawing inspiration from the late American painter Jackson Pollock.

This piece led to another, then another, and finally to Langston’s own collection of artwork that he displays on his line of t-shirts, “The Top.”

“When he (Langston) decides to do something, he’s relentless,” said his mother, Jacqueline Howard. “It’s like zero to 100 overnight.”

And, according to Langston, her newly created clothing brand is already on its way to “The Top.”

“I’m currently designing pieces that will appear at New York Fashion Week,” in 2023, he said.

The Top is a motivational clothing brand designed to inspire its customers with their unlimited potential, according to its CEO, Langston “Lambo” Howard. The apparel, which consists of athletic leisure wear, as well as hoodies, face masks and baseball caps, features Langston’s original artwork paired with inspirational quotes spoken by some of his favorite athletes. Since launching in March, The Top has reached over 200 homes and has already had an impact on two famous rappers: Babyface Ray and Big Sean.

“If you ask me how he does it, I have no idea,” his mother said when describing Langston’s first meeting with Sean Anderson, aka Big Sean, at the recent Don Weekend in Detroit. She says Langston’s business acumen quickly turns into a confident sense best described as “fearless.”

Langston Howard shows Detroit rapper Big Sean his t-shirt designs at Big Sean's 4th annual event, Detroit's On Now (DON) weekend last August.
Langston Howard shows Detroit rapper Big Sean his t-shirt designs at Big Sean’s 4th annual event, Detroit’s On Now (DON) weekend last August.
Courtesy of the Howard family

Langston’s mentor, Shawn Wilson, echoes his mother’s sentiments while reflecting on the encounter Big Sean and Langston shared. Wilson says that in addition to Langton’s confidence, his level of maturity is really helping him soar in theaters.

“He’s wise beyond his years,” said Wilson, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan (BGCSM). Wilson says Langston’s unique personality and professional qualities were quickly recognized when he applied to join the organization’s Fashion and Merchandising Industry Club.

The Fashion Club, Wilson says, is a subgroup program of a larger initiative called The Industry Club that the BGCSM created to help young people dive deeper into their passions.

Within The Industry Club, the group currently has two additional concentrations outside of fashion: the Sports, Esports and Entertainment Industry Club and the Data, Science and Risk Management Club. Any member of the BGCSM organization aged 14 and over is welcome to apply for the program that interests them. But, says Wilson, even if you’re not of legal age, there’s always a possibility of getting into a program, just like Langston got into the fashion industry program when he was only 12 years.

“He’s very mature,” Wilson said. “His concepts and designs are also mature.”

Langston Howard, 13-year-old t-shirt brand developer, smiles as he talks with people about his shirts he displayed in the Cadillac area at the International Auto Show charity preview of North America 2022 at Huntington Place in Detroit on Friday, September 16, 2022. Howard is part of the Boys and Girls Club and learning to network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals to grow his business.  He also has selected pieces that will be at New York Fashion Week.
Langston Howard, 13-year-old t-shirt brand developer, smiles as he talks with people about his shirts he displayed in the Cadillac area at the International Auto Show charity preview of North America 2022 at Huntington Place in Detroit on Friday, September 16, 2022. Howard is part of the Boys and Girls Club and learning to network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals to grow his business. He also has selected pieces that will be at New York Fashion Week.
Kelly Jordan, Detroit Free Press

For Langston however, aside from his mother being a board member of BGCSM, his age precluded him from being paid in dollars. But his pay for his work – success and a trip to the Big Apple – was well worth it.

And he follows the same steps he takes to design his retail pieces, he says.

“I’ve always been an artist,” said the 13-year-old entrepreneur. “So I brainstorm ideas for about a month…then I sketch out the design.

“And then once I’m done with the sketch and I have the images that I want to be on the design, I show them to a graphic designer and they create the design through their platform.”

Once those steps are complete, a young man’s operation moves designs to manufacturing — which he does himself — the same way he started his business, his mother said.

“He took the money he received for his 13th birthday and invested it in his business,” she said. And according to Langston, he got back all of his original investment, plus a profit.

Langston Howard, 13-year-old t-shirt brand developer, right, talks about his shirts with Ron Evans, center, of Detroit, in the Cadillac area at the International Auto Show charity preview North America 2022 at Huntington Place in Detroit on Friday September 16, 2022. Howard is with the Boys and Girls Club and he is learning how to network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals so he can elevate his business.  He also has selected pieces that will be at New York Fashion Week.
Langston Howard, 13-year-old t-shirt brand developer, right, talks about his shirts with Ron Evans, center, of Detroit, in the Cadillac area at the International Auto Show charity preview North America 2022 at Huntington Place in Detroit on Friday September 16, 2022. Howard is with the Boys and Girls Club and he is learning how to network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals so he can elevate his business. He also has selected pieces that will be at New York Fashion Week.
Kelly Jordan, Detroit Free Press

In February, Langston’s New York Fashion Week pieces will be showcased on a professional catwalk. But until then, the young businessman says he has a new collection coming out around October and is interested in adding a luxury brand to his line. But most importantly, Langston says, he wants to expand The Top so he can help inspire others.

“Over time, I would like to expand so that others can see that they can reach the top too,” he said. “I want to make it bigger and bigger until The Top reaches the top.”

Jasmin Barmore was born and raised in the city of Detroit. She covers neighborhoods and communities across the city using her passion to give voice to the voiceless. You can reach her at [email protected] or by messaging her on Instagram or Twitter at @bjasminmare.

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